A monster is in our midst, and its name is Architecture.
Contemporary architecture is in many ways a monstrous thing. It is bigger, more broadly defined, increasingly complicated, more costly, and stylistically and formally heterogeneous—if not downright unhinged. Not only is the scale of the built environment expanding, but so is the territory of the architectural profession itself. A perfect storm of history, technology, economics, politics, and pedagogy has generated a moment in time in which anything seems possible. The results have been at times strange and even frightening.
Long ago, the birth of an abnormal creature was interpreted as a sign of looming trouble. These monstra—from the Latin monere, “to warn” and monstrare, “to show”—were viewed with both fear and fascination. This fortieth issue of Perspecta—the oldest and most distinguished student-edited architectural journal in America—examines architecture past and present through the lens of the monster. The contributors—a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, and artists—embrace the multitude of meanings this term carries in an attempt to understand how architecture arrived at its present situation and where it may be going. Perspecta 40 represents in itself a kind of monster—a hybrid, jumbled, conflicting amalgamation of work and ideas that looks at the past in new ways and tells of things to come.
Philip Bernstein, Mario Carpo, Arindam Dutta, Ed Eigen, Mark Gage, Gensler, Marcelyn Gow and Ulrika Karlsson (servo), Catherine Ingraham, Mark Jarzombek, Terry Kirk, Leon Krier, Greg Lynn, John May, John McMorrough, Colin Montgomery, Guy Nordenson, Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Emmanuel Petit, Kevin Roche, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) and Ryuji Fujimura, Michael Weinstock, Claire Zimmerman